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#6242329 - 03/30/16 08:18 PM Looking to get started in reloading soon....
SnakeWrangler Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/22/11
Posts: 20809
Loc: Fairfield, TX

Getting my shop set up. Would like to get into reloading pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Mostly interest in:

Pistol - .45ACP, .40S&W, .38/.357, .380ACP
Rifle - .308/7.62x51, 30-06, .300Savage, and 5.56
Shotgun - 12 gage and 20 gage

These are the calibers I use most often.

What do I need as a basic set-up that can be expanded if/as I get more into it?

Should I focus on one type first (pistol, rifle, or shotgun)?

What should I avoid? Equipment brands/types, etc.

Thoughts and opinions welcome.....

Thanks!
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#6242344 - 03/30/16 08:26 PM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: SnakeWrangler]
jbd76266 Offline


Registered: 04/17/09
Posts: 4365
Loc: Sanger, TX
Some good starter info in the stickies posted at the top of the section.

http://texashuntingforum.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2359815/New_to_Reloading_info#Post2359815

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#6242367 - 03/30/16 08:45 PM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: SnakeWrangler]
Mickey Moose Offline
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Registered: 02/05/12
Posts: 2574
Don't buy *Lee products - specifically the universal decapper die. <grin>

Seriously though I have little if anything to offer since I am new myself. Have most of my equipment now, some newly cleaned brass and primers. Then I decided to have some cocktails.

* http://texashuntingforum.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/6239885/all/Lee_loading_can_go_out_of_busi
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#6242432 - 03/30/16 09:27 PM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: SnakeWrangler]
Tactical Cowboy Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/23/11
Posts: 2844
Loc: Abilene
Get a Lee kit and dies for the calibers you want to load. Read the book.. Well. Unless you want to load steel shot, buckshot, or slugs, skip loading for shotgun.
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#6242565 - 03/31/16 05:54 AM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: SnakeWrangler]
GasGuzzler Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 1639
Loc: Cooke County, Texas
Start with pistol, specifically .357. It's the easiest.
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#6242666 - 03/31/16 07:59 AM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: GasGuzzler]
Cleric Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 2579
Originally Posted By: GasGuzzler
Start with pistol, specifically .357. It's the easiest.


45 acp is pretty straight forward as well


How much money do you want to spend?? How many of each caliber will you make in a month? If you want high rate gear you could easily be looking at 5k in just equipment.

For non shotgun I would look at Hornady lnl or Dillion 650. Both make good ammo.

There are some great videos on ultimate reloader.

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#6242678 - 03/31/16 08:03 AM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: SnakeWrangler]
JTPinTX Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 04/01/15
Posts: 182
Loc: TX Panhandle
I would skip the Shotty loading for now, that is a totally different game than the other two.

Rifle and pistol follow pretty much the same process but with a few differences. For the sake of simplicity I would recommend starting with either one or the other (rifle or pistol), and then after a few months or a year work into the other. That way the learning and equipment curve won't be quite as steep. I have been teaching several guys how to get into reloading here lately and it seems there is always a new piece of equipment or something they need. By picking one or the other initially that part of it won't be quite as bad. I would pick whichever you do more of (rifle or pistol) and start there. Also trying to load and tune for a whole bunch of different cartridges right of the bat while you are learning can be overwhelming. Pick one or two, get them worked out, then pick up your next set of dies. Because it isn't just the gear. For each new chambering for sure will need different bullets, and quite possibly different powders and primers. Looking at your list you have three rifles that are all 30 cal, that might be a good place to start since if one rifle doesn't like a particular bullet, one of the others might. They would all use the same primer, and you could get by with just one or two powders for all three. Like IMR 4064. It is great in both 308 and 30-06, and I am sure would work in the Savage as well.

There are a lot of kits out there with all kinds of varying equipment. Most will do the job just fine. What I would say though is be sure and get something with a good press (especially FL sizing 30-06). A lot of the equipment in the starter kits is basic, and over time you will replace it if you get really serious about your loading. But a crappy press, you ain't got time for that, lol. RCBS Rockchucker, Redding Boss, Forester Coax, all are good presses with lots of power that will last a lifetime. The are others as well, but those come to mind.

Buy once, cry once. When you buy a piece of gear, do your research and try to buy the best quality you can. Quality and price are not always mutually exclusive, there are some overpriced pieces of gear out there, and some that are worth twice what they cost. But generally you get what you pay for. It is tough buying all this equipment on a budget, it sucks worse having to buy it again a second time because you tried to save a few bucks the first time. If you can, try and find a mentor that can help you learn. If he is good he will tell you no when you want to buy something you don't need (or isn't good enough), or tell you to buck up and buy something if it is what you really need.



Edited by JTPinTX (03/31/16 08:08 AM)

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#6242684 - 03/31/16 08:07 AM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: SnakeWrangler]
Cleric Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 2579
I would start with pistol first. It's easier to reload imo and the cost savings is pretty high on 45 acp. I bought a lnl ap and case feeder and made 10k+ rounds. This gave me good experience on the press and loading and allowed me to recoup some funds.

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#6242722 - 03/31/16 08:32 AM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: SnakeWrangler]
redchevy Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23426
Loc: Texas
I bought an RCBS kit when I got started. I was 12 years old and didn't know if I could or would keep doing it. If I would have started now I would have bought a manual of the bullet maker I preferred, an RCBS rockchucker press and chargemaster scale. Those are the big ticket items. Othing things you would need/want is dies, tumbler, set of calipers and a case trimmer. With just that you can make great ammo.

The volume of ammo will dictate what kind of press you want. I load for 6 rifles in 5 dif calibers and 2 pistol calibers. I have a single stage press and prefer it, but im not a high volume shooter.

Hope you enjoy, its a lot of fun!
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#6243072 - 03/31/16 01:12 PM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: JTPinTX]
Big Fitz Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 2008
Loc: McKinney, TX
Originally Posted By: JTPinTX
I would skip the Shotty loading for now, that is a totally different game than the other two.


I would second this as I am not sure there is much to gain reloading shotgun shells. Even some of the high volume trap shooters I used to know just bought factory.

Since you are just beginning, I would suggest a single stage press and focus on just a few of your main calibers to see if you like it. You can recoup much of your investment if you stay with a major brand (RCBS, Forester, etc.)

JG seems to have a love affair with Lee but not sure others would recommend them as top level. bolt
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#6243092 - 03/31/16 01:34 PM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: SnakeWrangler]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
I don't know how much you shoot right now. New hand loaders tend to realize they have shot more in the 12 months after they started rolling their own. Shot for shot it is cheaper when only considering the cost of components, especially on once fired brass. After all the brass is free once it's been fired once. But it may take thousands of rounds to recover what has been spent in equipment. I got into loading to produce perfect ammo for my rifles, not to save money. Now that I shoot as much as I do, there is no way I could afford manufactured ammo that would not be as good as my loads tuned to my rifles.

As is the case with many hobbies, you start out simple, and slowly upgrade equipment. As RedChevy wrote, most of us find that we all eventually gravitated to an RCBS Chargemaster. It is just as accurate as many other digital scales yet cuts your loading time, often, in half. For me, that equates to many hours saved at the bench every year. So if you can afford it right now, do it, it'll be cheaper in the long run.

As far as presses, there are lots of good ones. Many are 50+ year old designs still going strong. Another big ticket item for me was a Forster Co-Ax press. I started on a simple single stage, went to a turret press, sold it at a loss once it could not keep up with the long list of varied cartridges I load for, and finally landed on the Co-Ax. I wish I would have started with it in the first place. It would have saved me more hours, and more money.

Quality, accurate calipers are a must. I like analog, but there are good digital ones on the market.

Case trimmer. A chore I hate, but a Forster lathe trimmer will get you going. I'm about to upgrade from that as well. You'll also need a chamfer/ deburring tool. And I also use a flash hole deburring tool on new brass. It's a one time project, but I can see how not doing it would cause me negative results.

Hornady Headspace gauge

Hornady bullet comparator

A good manual from your favorite bullet maker(s)

www.hodgdon.com is excellent for researching minimum and maximum powder charges.

This section, on this site holds a long list of guys that are literally experts at loading. Pay attention to the tips and tricks sticky, and don't be afraid to ask questions. No one is going to flame you for looking for help.
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#6243137 - 03/31/16 02:25 PM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: FiremanJG]
Tactical Cowboy Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/23/11
Posts: 2844
Loc: Abilene
Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
I don't know how much you shoot right now. New hand loaders tend to realize they have shot more in the 12 months after they started rolling their own. Shot for shot it is cheaper when only considering the cost of components, especially on once fired brass. After all the brass is free once it's been fired once. But it may take thousands of rounds to recover what has been spent in equipment. I got into loading to produce perfect ammo for my rifles, not to save money. Now that I shoot as much as I do, there is no way I could afford manufactured ammo that would not be as good as my loads tuned to my rifles.

As is the case with many hobbies, you start out simple, and slowly upgrade equipment. As RedChevy wrote, most of us find that we all eventually gravitated to an RCBS Chargemaster. It is just as accurate as many other digital scales yet cuts your loading time, often, in half. For me, that equates to many hours saved at the bench every year. So if you can afford it right now, do it, it'll be cheaper in the long run.

As far as presses, there are lots of good ones. Many are 50+ year old designs still going strong. Another big ticket item for me was a Forster Co-Ax press. I started on a simple single stage, went to a turret press, sold it at a loss once it could not keep up with the long list of varied cartridges I load for, and finally landed on the Co-Ax. I wish I would have started with it in the first place. It would have saved me more hours, and more money.

Quality, accurate calipers are a must. I like analog, but there are good digital ones on the market.

Case trimmer. A chore I hate, but a Forster lathe trimmer will get you going. I'm about to upgrade from that as well. You'll also need a chamfer/ deburring tool. And I also use a flash hole deburring tool on new brass. It's a one time project, but I can see how not doing it would cause me negative results.

Hornady Headspace gauge

Hornady bullet comparator

A good manual from your favorite bullet maker(s)

www.hodgdon.com is excellent for researching minimum and maximum powder charges.

This section, on this site holds a long list of guys that are literally experts at loading. Pay attention to the tips and tricks sticky, and don't be afraid to ask questions. No one is going to flame you for looking for help.


Lots of good info there. Is the headspace gauge and bullet comparator all that necessary for hunting ammo? I've never used either and get the accuracy I'm looking for.
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#6243184 - 03/31/16 02:55 PM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: Tactical Cowboy]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
I have no doubt you've been satisfied with your results.

Three reasons to check head space, and partial FL size.

1. Being able to set your FL die to partial FL size the shoulders back .002"-.003" means you are not overworking your brass, giving longer brass life.

2. Powder energy is used to flow brass forward. So when oversizing you are hurting your muzzle velocity. Brass that flows forward, upon firing, .002" will make more MV than brass that flows forward .010", with identical powder charges. I've seen it happen in several of my rifles. Once fired brass makes for a higher MV than virgin brass does.

3. Reliability. The brass will chamber, will fire, and will eject, even on a hot barrel. And is doing so with brass performing as much as it possibly can.

Bullet comparator reasons are simply female tendencies in bullets. Some bullets "like" to be even with the lands, some like to jam, some like to jump a certain amount. Having the comparator allows you to fine tune the bullet relationship to the rifling. Completely ignoring O.A.L. numbers in a loading manual. You will also have the ability to chase rifling, and get a beacon when your rifles throat erosion is getting too far. My former .22-250, for example. I went in search of the rifling again, after 1500 rounds and learned I had .100" of erosion. Barrel ordering time!
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#6243193 - 03/31/16 03:01 PM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: SnakeWrangler]
redchevy Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23426
Loc: Texas
I don't know many reloaders who are chasing minute of deer at 100 yards. Necessary? No, but can surely be nice to have.

I still don't have a headspace gauge, but have enjoyed the comparators.
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#6243257 - 03/31/16 04:01 PM Re: Looking to get started in reloading soon.... [Re: FiremanJG]
Tactical Cowboy Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/23/11
Posts: 2844
Loc: Abilene
Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
I have no doubt you've been satisfied with your results.

Three reasons to check head space, and partial FL size.

1. Being able to set your FL die to partial FL size the shoulders back .002"-.003" means you are not overworking your brass, giving longer brass life.

2. Powder energy is used to flow brass forward. So when oversizing you are hurting your muzzle velocity. Brass that flows forward, upon firing, .002" will make more MV than brass that flows forward .010", with identical powder charges. I've seen it happen in several of my rifles. Once fired brass makes for a higher MV than virgin brass does.

3. Reliability. The brass will chamber, will fire, and will eject, even on a hot barrel. And is doing so with brass performing as much as it possibly can.

Bullet comparator reasons are simply female tendencies in bullets. Some bullets "like" to be even with the lands, some like to jam, some like to jump a certain amount. Having the comparator allows you to fine tune the bullet relationship to the rifling. Completely ignoring O.A.L. numbers in a loading manual. You will also have the ability to chase rifling, and get a beacon when your rifles throat erosion is getting too far. My former .22-250, for example. I went in search of the rifling again, after 1500 rounds and learned I had .100" of erosion. Barrel ordering time!


Gotcha. While I'm sure it would help make more accurate ammo, I don't think is necessary for my purposes.
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